Ardern – not too young but rattled

A  Herald ZB Kantar TNS poll shows that most people don’t think Jacinda Ardern is too young to be Prime Minister. Age no barrier for Jacinda Ardern, new poll says

The actual question asked isn’t clear, but here are the reported results:

  • Her age should have no bearing on how voters view her 44%
  • Her age could be an advantage as a Prime Minister in a modern government 22%
  • She was too young and inexperienced as a political party leader to take on the top job 28%

Youth and inexperience are not the same.

Not surprisingly older people thought she was too young or experienced – 43% of over sixties.

And “More than three-quarters of 18-to-29-year-olds either said her age was irrelevant or that it was a positive.”

The poll of 1000 people took place between September 13 and 19 and has a margin of error of 3.1 per cent.

No sign of them polling Bill English, James Shaw or Winston Peters on the suitability of their age or experience – or staleness.

Also NZH: The verdicts on the final Bill English vs Jacinda Ardern leaders’ debate

Audrey Young: Winner? Bill English

Jacinda Ardern was on the defensive for most of the debate, possibly because the 1News poll showing a dive for Labour knocked the stuffing out of her.

English won more points, but he didn’t shine. He wasn’t very nimble and it looked as though the campaign had taken its toll.

The campaign has taken it’s toll on many of us, but understandable the party leaders are getting jaded and a tad tired of repeated the same stuff over and over.

Toby Manhire: Winner? Draw

Ardern looked properly riled, challenging English to look her in the eye and repeat the claim. He was sticking with his hole, but gave a little ground.

She called him Bill countless times; he didn’t say Jacinda but he did tell voters they had a choice, several thousand times over.

…it’s hard imagine anyone having had their mind changed.

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Winner? Bill English

It’s the first time Ardern has looked rattled. She struggled to maintain her usually ever-present smile.

Ardern struggled to defend her plans on a number of fronts but performed well on the health crisis.

English has never looked so in command this campaign.

He attacked both Labour and the Greens for hopping on the water tax “populist bandwagon”, over-talked Ardern and pulled her up on facts.

Liam Dann: Winner? Bill English

Ardern never got a roll on.

English smiled and talked his way through the tricky issues like a Prime Ministerial robot.

In the brief moments where he was vulnerable – the fuel pipeline debacle, poverty and the imaginary fiscal hole – Ardern needed to go for the knockout.

In fact, never mind the boxing analogies, she needed to hit him in the nuts like a street fighter. It’s probably to her credit as a person that she didn’t but it handed English a clear points victory.

If you haven’t voted yet make up your mind and do it.

I’m going to vote on Saturday. I’m still observing and pondering.

Last debate, Ardern versus English

The last debate between Bill English and Jacinda Ardern will be on TVNZ 1 at 7 pm tonight. I think that Mike Hosking will be back running it after an illness ruled him out of the second debate.

English was rocked by a bad poll result before that debate, but it has swung the other way with tonight’s Colmar Brunton poll has national back up to 46% and labour slipping 7 to 37%.

It will be interesting to see who is finishing the campaign stronger.

The Spinoff:  The final battle: A fight to the death in the last English-Ardern debate

Duncan Greive:

What we saw tonight was essentially the entire campaign, distilled. English: dogged, stolid, indefatigable. Ardern: passionate, idealistic, frustrated.

English looks like he has grown into the task and is enjoying it, Ardern looks like she is just about over it – but she may have to pick herself up on Sunday and launch into another major exercise for a few weeks, which may launch into three years of hard yakker.

Simon Wilson: Ardern failed to land a death blow.

Jacinda need to crush Bill tonight. Land those body blows, leave him looking like he wasn’t sure what day it was.

She was never going to do that with reason or calm reassurance, and certainly not with relentless positivity. The defining characteristics of her campaign have been phenomenally successful, but at this point, like the campaigns of Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, they have not been successful enough.

Annabelle Lee: The winner on the day was… that giant desk

Both Ardern and English gave as good as they got and played well to their respective strengths (him: it’s the economy stupid. Her: kids are living in cars stupid) so no clear winner other than the desk which could double as the iceberg in the remake of The Titanic.

Ben Thomas: A plodding draw

It was also a harder English that emerged. Rightly challenged on his characterisation of Labour scrapping planned tax cuts as a “tax rise”, he doubled down. Asked about the now-notorious $11 billion, he nakedly misrepresented the argument and its outcome saying economists agreed there was a “hole” (no economists agreed, either on the accounting or the metaphor). Hosking slumped in his seat exasperated, but Ardern’s response of surprise rather than fury failed to settle the matter for anyone unfamiliar with the facts (still a possibility even after the last few exhausting weeks). She called him “mischievous”, which fed into English’s narrative that it was all just a typical politicians’ semantic playfight.

Ardern’s own vision, expressed during the election period as a concern for the children in poverty and locked out of homes, didn’t make an appearance until the dying minutes. It was her strongest moment, but not enough to save the debate from being a plodding draw.

Madeleine Chapman: Please, god, can this be over now?

This debate was so boring. Usually I can do screengrabs while also remaining engaged but by god, I felt like I was watching a family argue at dinner.

I think a lot of people are over the campaign.

When Jacinda told Bill “look me in the eye” regarding his insistence that Steven Joyce (very much wrong) was right about the $11.7b Labour fiscal hole, I expected her to follow up with an “I’m the captain now” to make all my meme dreams come true. Instead I could only manage some uninspired memes from an uninspiring debate.

I think that most people have already decided or will still be undecided after this debate.

Climate debate

ndrew BaileyWWF has organised an election climate debate, starting tonight at 7 pm.

We know it’s 100% possible to unlock a safe climate future for all New Zealanders. Climate action is bigger than politics – but it’s election season right now. Will political parties come together to set a course for a 100% renewable energy, zero carbon future? Or will climate action remain a political football?

WWF-New Zealand’s Climate Debate is your chance to find out.

  • What: This election’s big climate debate.
  • When7pm on 19 September

Brought to you in partnership with Oxfam New Zealand and Fossil Free University of Auckland, the Debate is your chance to learn about the parties’ climate policies – and ask your political representatives the questions that matter to you. We already have an exciting mixture of speakers from almost all of New Zealand’s key political parties coming along, just days before the election.

Business journalist Rod Oram will be your MC on the night,asking all the candidates the questions that matter for Aotearoa’s climate future.

Taking part:

  • Megan Woods (Labour),
  • James Shaw (Greens),
  • Carrie Stoddart-Smith (Māori Party),
  • Denis O’Rourke (NZ First),
  • Damien Light (United Future),
  • Teresa Moore (TOP)
  • Andrew Bailey (National)

Youtube was hopeless, but Facebook is working.

Joyce v Robertson finance debate tonight

Stuff are streaming a finance debate from 7:00 pm between Grant Robertson and Steven Joyce. This may be challenging for Robertson in particular after today’s tax u-turn.

Ok, I’m getting sick of it already, same old arguments flying to and fro.

Robertson has just interrupted Joyce about five times in a row stopping him from talking. Waste of time.

Joyce is still claiming there is a fiscal hole, but seems to have changed his slant somewhat.

Small party leaders debate


Tonight at 7:00 pm on TV1 there will be a leaders debate that excludes the two main party leaders).

Taking part:

  • Damian Light (United Future)
  • James Shaw (Greens)
  • Marama Fox (Maori Party)
  • David Seymour (ACT)

This is the debate that Gareth Morgan went to court to try to get in, and failed. And Winston Peters thinks it’s beneath his stature to take part with minnow party leaders.

It will be moderated by Corin Dann (Mike Hosking is sick so had to step down).

I thought it was an interesting debate.

James Shaw looked like he really didn’t want to be there, perhaps a very hard month is taking it’s toll. He was a bit robotic with the standard Green spiel. And at the end when he said he was really excited about the prospects of a Labour Green (and maybe Maori) government he looked like it was his turn to change the nappies.

But he had probably the best line of the night.

Peters didn’t want to take part supposedly because English and Ardern weren’t involved, so in his absence the others took him apart a number of times.

David Seymour was dominant, too much so at times, but he had plenty of opportunity to promote his cause – enough party votes to get at least one fellow ACT MP working with him for the next term.

Marama Fox was the star performer, an informed, eloquent and passionate promoter for her Maori constituency. It will be a real shame if she doesn’t make it back into Parliament.

Damian Light’s presence highlighted the stupidity of TVNZ rules for who could and who couldn’t take part (Gareth Morgan would have made it a better debate), and his nervousness showed at times, but for his first time on the big political stage he did very well, stating clearly and knowledgeable what UF’s policy positions were.

All four who took part had a decent chance to promote themselves a bit, but on a Friday night the audience was probably not very attracted or engaged.

But it was a useful albeit flawed part of our democratic process.

TOP lose legal bid to debate

The Opportunities Party went to court to try to get included in tonight’s minor party leaders debate and lost. This isn’t surprising, it’s hard for a court to force a media organisation, but it’s very disappointing to see our state owned television broadcaster using ‘rules’ to be undemocratic.

The MMP system – in particular to ridiculously high 5% threshold – is stacked against new parties making it into Parliament.

TVNZ’s ‘rule of not allowing parties who haven’t got at least 3% in their last two polls to take part in the biggest debate of the campaign for minor parties is a disgrace to democratic principles.

RNZ: TOP loses legal bid to appear in multi-party debate

The Opportunities Party (TOP) has lost its legal fight to appear on TVNZ’s multi-party debate tomorrow evening.

TVNZ lawyer Stacey Shortall said it had robust criteria for parties to be involved, including either already being in parliament or polling at at least three percent in one of the two Colmar Brunton polls before the debate.

It is not ‘robust criteria’. State owned broadcasters in particular should have a responsibility to be fair to serious contenders, but TVNZ is denying TOP a prime  chance of being seen and heard.

TOP polled at 1 percent in its poll at the end of August and at 1.9 percent today.

TOP’s lawyer Francis Cooke QC argued the party’s inclusion in the debates was critical to the election process and TVNZ’s criteria should be more robust.

But the political-media system remains stacked against them.

Key points from Edwards’ affidavit:

24 Fourth, in my view the use of such criteria is self-perpetuating and antidemocratic. A party that is excluded from the debates has little chance of making headway in the polls. What is more, I think that excluding them from the debates sends the message to viewers that their views and policies are not worthy of consideration. I think this is dangerously undemocratic.

25 Fifth, this year’s election campaign is proving extremely volatile. Political scientists and commentators appear to be in consensus that we are witnessing the greatest polling volatility yet recorded in an election campaign in New Zealand. Therefore, it seems unreasonable to take two Colmar Brunton polls as a snapshot of likely outcomes in the election – the flux is just too great at the moment in politics to regard such polling to be definitive.

27 Finally, the minor parties seem set to play a pivotal role in this year’s election as they are likely to hold the balance of power after the election. In my view, this makes it particularly important that the public is given sufficient exposure to their leaders and policies.

30 In my view TVNZ’s exclusion of TOP would do a disservice to democracy.

31 If TVNZ proceeds with minor party leaders’ and young voters’ debates without The Opportunities Party (TOP), this will have a significantly negative impact on TOP’s chances to be taken seriously by those members of the public looking to vote for a party other than Labour and National. It will send a strong signal to voters that it is not a viable candidate for voting consideration. It may seriously affect TOP’s electoral chances. And given the inclusion of less popular parties, it would be arbitrary and irrational.

The full affidavit:

The judge probably had no legal basis to rule in favour of TOP, but TVNZ are doing a disservice to taxpayers and to democracy.

Large and incumbent parties (and their supporters) and large media do what the can to deny newcomers a fair chance. Incumbent also have other substantial financial advantages.

Stuff, the debate

Last night’s Press/Stuff leaders debate was another step in the campaign contest between Jacinda Ardern.

The first debate last week was fairly cautious and tame. English stepped things up a notch in Monday’s Newshub debate, but Ardern was the improver in last night’s Press/Stuff debate in Christchurch.

Stuff Leaders Debate: Jacinda Ardern wins with our pundits

Associate Professor Grant Duncan, who teaches political theory and New Zealand politics at Massey University’s Albany campus, called it a narrow win for Jacinda Ardern.

Social commentator Emma Espiner gave the debate to Ardern.

“Her debate performance is improving in sync with her poll numbers. I had her losing the first TVNZ debate, drawing even in the Newshub debate and I gave the Stuff debate to her on the basis on her dexterity, ease, humour and command of detail.

“If English debated the whole evening the way he did from about 36 minutes in, when he got angry about Labour disparaging farmers, it would have been closer.”

Political commentator Liam Hehir also gave Ardern the win.

“This debate threw the difference between the two candidates in stark relief with English talking numbers in long sentences and Ardern offering general aspirations but few specifics.

“Ardern was much more aggressive tonight (sometimes to the point of churlishness). But the combination of a hostile audience and issues like the fiscal ‘hole’ fiasco favoured that approach – so Ardern was the winner.”

Stuff’s online survey:

  • Jacinda Ardern 61%
  • Bill English 39%

Vernon Small: Bill English holds his own in even debate, after another polling blow

English had a clear edge talking about water and clean rivers, as well as – less surprisingly  – on the uncertainty of Labour’s tax working group.

But Labour leader Jacinda Ardern, even hampered by a crackling microphone in the first segment, scored points against English over trust and his finance spokesman’s debunked claim that there is an $11.7 billion fiscal hole in Labour’s plan.

There were none of those game-changing moments this time…

English is looking like needing a game changer but not of the Joyce kind.

But perhaps the most telling development of the night was Ardern’s new attack: variations on the idea that the bigger risk is in continuing as we are, the risk is in the status quo.

It is a clear attempt to neutralise National’s key theme – that a change to a new government with an untested leader and an uncertain economic plan is just too risky.

If Labour can harness the mood for change and present itself as the less risky option, then that poll result could soon be baked in.

With just over two weeks to go, English is fighting hard but with early voting starting next week he may be running out of time to slow and reverse Ardern’s momentum.

There is a small party leaders debate tonight, and another debate between Ardern and English next week.

RNZ: Leaders trade blows in feisty third debate

Google highlights depth of political inquiry

Maybe the people who are more serious about politics and were too busy watching and listening to the debate to spend time googling, but yeah, this doesn’t give one a lot of confidence about how well informed many people are.

Who said policies were important?

Leaders debate #2

Tonight Jacinda Ardern and Bill English have their second leaders debate of the campaign.

This one is being run by Patrick Gower and Newshub, and is being broadcast at 8:30 pm, and will also be live streamed:

Livestream: Newshub Leaders Debate

The first debate last Thursday seemed like a feeler for both of them. There could be more tactics used tonight.

First segment done – a lot feistier this time, more challenging of each other’s policies. Also too much rehearsed recital from both but it’s hard to limit that.

Most talked about line – when English was asked what his best attribute was for being Prime Minister, excluding experience, given he lost badly in 2002.  “I got back up again.”

The clapping and cheering interruptions are annoying, stopping the flow.

Certainly more combative this time.

The main difference overall is ploddy old actuals versus vague aspiration and vision.

Q+A: health debate – Coleman & Clark

On Q+A this morning: Who has the best policies for our health system?
Watch our health debate – Political Editor Corin Dann with Labour’s Dr David Clark and National’s Dr Jonathan Coleman.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, glasses

Coleman and Clark also featured on The Nation yesterday (repeated this morning at 10:00 am).

Labour on health:


Additional $8 billion investment in health over four years

See the details in our fiscal plan here.

Cut GP fees by $10 a visit with $8 GP visits for Community Services Card holders

From 1 July 2018, Labour will lower the cost of GP visits by $10 through:

  • Lowering the VLCA fee cap by $10 to $8 for adults and $2 for teens (under 13s are already free), with a funding increase to VLCA practices to cover this
  • Increasing government funding for all practices that lower their fees by $10, low (show all)

Continue reading →

National responded to Labour’s $8b:

Labour’s mythical $8b extra health spend

The Labour Party has been trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes with its mythical $8 billion extra health spend, National Party Health spokesman Dr Jonathan Coleman says.

“The ‘$8 billion more’ health spending argument is smoke and mirrors. They are simply rolling out normal baseline increases and comparing them with a mythical situation of an alternative government that apparently doesn’t add a single dollar to health expenditure for four years. That’s laughable and has simply never happened,” Dr Coleman says.

“The Labour massive extra spending myth also shows up in the amount of new budget money they propose to add each year. Labour is planning to add less in health for each year in the next four years than the National Government has added in the last budget alone.

National new budget operating spend (actual):

  • 2017/18        $879 million

Labour proposed new budget operating spend:

  • 2018/19        $847 million
  • 2019/20        $689 million
  • 2020/21        $826 million
  • 2021/22        $795 million

“The reality is every government makes big increases to the health budget. Of course it’s all about what you do with the money rather than the money itself. And the National Government has an absolute focus on lifting results from the health investments we make.

“The irony is that whether you measure by our respective history of results or just the dollars, when you compare Labour’s proposed plan with National’s track record New Zealanders would receive less from the health sector under Labour.”